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Improving Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Learn more about fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone feels welcome, respected, and valued.

Most companies recognize the value of diversity in the workplace, but creating a truly inclusive environment can be challenging. It's not just about promoting diversity – it's about creating a culture where everyone feels welcome, respected, and valued. An organization that fosters diversity and inclusion improves innovation, collaboration, and overall performance. 

The best way to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace is to start with the basics: making sure everyone feels like they belong. This means creating a safe space where people feel comfortable being themselves. It also means ensuring that everyone has a seat at the table – that they're included in the conversation from the beginning. 

True inclusion embraces diversity in all forms, including gender, race, sexual orientation, age, etc., as well as opinions and beliefs. By creating a diverse and inclusive environment, companies can attract and retain top talent, decrease workplace burnout, and improve productivity and creativity. This guide explains the importance of diversity and inclusion at work and offers actionable tips to help organizations learn how to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace.

The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion at Work

A recent Glassdoor study revealed that 76% of job seekers think a diverse workforce is essential when considering a job offer. For employees in underrepresented minority groups, the numbers jump to 80% in Black and Hispanic employees and 79% in LBGTQ employees. One in three job seekers would not even apply for a job at a company lacking diversity among its workforce. 

Failure to create a diverse and inclusive workplace limits your organization to a smaller talent pool and can restrict company growth and innovation. Yet, diversity alone doesn't lead to inclusion. A diverse workplace employs individuals from different backgrounds, genders, ages, sexual orientations, races, locations, ability levels, and beliefs. An inclusive workplace welcomes these employees and embraces the ideas and cultures that make them unique. When companies achieve this environment, they improve company culture, employee engagement, creativity, customer satisfaction through understanding, and overall performance.

How to Foster Diversity and Inclusion in Your Workplace? 

Fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a commitment required of company leaders, managers, and employees in all positions. Education and acceptance are key, as well as implementing official policies and processes that enforce the importance of a diverse and inclusive workplace. Employee benefits, healthcare, paid holidays, mental health benefits, etc., should reflect the needs of global teams.

1. Determine if Your Executive Team Represents Diversity and Inclusion

The first step in fostering diversity and inclusion at your company is to look at who is in leadership positions. Do they reflect the diversity of your workforce? If not, it may be time for a change.  The CEO can lead this initiative by making diversity and inclusion a shared goal for the organization.

2. Recognize and Respect Various Religious and Cultural Customs

It's common for organizations to recognize widely celebrated cultures and religions and the holidays and customs associated with them. Establish a specific policy for respecting different customs and traditions across all cultures. Identify a policy for holidays and celebrations that doesn't pressure employees to participate in activities that go against their beliefs. Allow time off on days important to specific religions and cultures.

3. Keep a  Psychologically Safe Work Environment Where Everyone is Appreciated

It's vital to respect and include your staff despite their age, race, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, etc. Innovation and collaboration flourish in an environment where every employee can be their authentic selves, innovation and collaboration flourish. Yet, stigma is often a barrier to a true sense of belonging. By introducing the concept of modern belonging in your organization, you can eliminate stigma and provide resources that encourage all employees to bring their authentic selves to the workplace.  

4. Start a Dialogue About the Pay Gap Between Men and Women

Two-thirds of mothers are either breadwinners or co-breadwinners for their families, with more than 4 in 10 being the sole or primary breadwinners. Yet, pay gaps created by outdated notions that men support families still exist. When comparing all women to all men, women earn 82 cents for every $1 men earn. The gap is even more pronouced for BIPC women. Transparency about gender pay equity is essential. Often, long-term pay gaps result from trends that go unnoticed for decades within an organization. By starting a dialogue, the company can become aware of and comprehend the various perspectives of employees and use this feedback to inform policies that move toward pay equity.

5. Be Welcoming to Employees Speaking Different Languages

Ensure your staff is comfortable communicating in whatever language they find most appropriate. By providing translation services, you can ensure everyone understands each other. When multi-lingual employees are encouraged to choose their preferred language, it becomes easier to concentrate on the information instead of the translation requirements.

6. Think in Culturally Diverse Ways

In order to foster inclusion in the workplace, it is essential for companies to be aware of and comprehend the various views of their employees. This can be encouraged by learning to accept different ways of thinking. Our Global Insights Playbook provides strategies related to mental health? that will help foster a more inclusive environment. The playbook covers such topics as what helps employees thrive in the workplace. Across all global regions, employees stated "feeling valued for my contributions" or "having work that fulfills me" as their top responses. By being aware of and understanding the various views of employees, companies can create a more inclusive environment where everyone feels valued for their contributions.

7. Create a Multigenerational Staff

It is crucial to have a staff that understands and accommodates all generations. Employees from different generations can learn from each other to bring new information to different roles. Cross-generational mentoring can also help build a sense of belonging and transfer varied knowledge sets.

8. Strengthen Anti-Discriminatory Policies

A tailored approach should be taken to strengthen anti-discriminatory rules. Organized policies are relevant to your unique environment and provide education to identify and eliminate patterns of discrimination. These policies also work to create accountability and keep inclusion top of mind.

9. Get Rid of Prejudice in Hiring and Promotion Processes

A lack of diversity can be combated by reviewing hiring and promotion processes. By shedding light on potential prejudices, organizations can break the cycle of discrimination and ensure a level playing field for all employees. Unconscious bias is a common barrier in both hiring and promotion processes. Managers must develop ways to uncover and address hidden biases to develop inclusive hiring and promotion policies. Some ways to remove bias include removing biased wording and making data-driven hiring and promotion decisions.

Diversity and inclusion are central to a sense of belonging and a psychologically safe workplace. At Modern Health, we believe that a sense of belonging is crucial to well-being. By training our providers in cultural humility practices and building a diverse provider workforce, we are delivering timely access to personalized, culturally centered care across the globe. To help HR and benefits leaders create a mental health benefits strategy that meets the needs of their evolving workforce, Modern Health developed a playbook that shares global data about workforce mental health. Download the Global Mental Health Insights playbook to uncover global workforce trends and benchmarks and improve your current mental health benefits strategy.     

Modern Health

Modern Health is the comprehensive mental wellness platform that combines the WHO well-being assessment, self-service wellness kits, an international network of certified coaches, and licensed therapists available in 35 languages all in a single app. Modern Health empowers employers to lead the charge in acknowledging that mental health is just as important as physical health, de-stigmatizing the conversation, and increasing accessibility of mental health services for all.